This is no ordinary review, for no ordinary anime. Seven of us have gathered, and we shall
argue and bicker discuss every single aspect of Hataraku Maou-sama (Devil is a Part-Timer)! So welcome to The Ani-TAY Super-Size Review!
Ascendant: So, now that everyone's here, shall we start the review? I think it'd be a great place for us to start, if all of us raise one thing from Hataraku Maou-sama that was very memorable.
For me, that would be.... Quite a lot of the time, actually! But I do like the time when Lucifer turned up, and all Mao could talk about was B-rated movies. That was a good laugh.
devinreal13: Man there are just so many hilarious moments, it's hard to choose one. Off the top of my head, I loved the running gag of Alciel missing important events because he had to go to the "Demon's Castle" and get his cape. Alciel is just the best.
Krakken_Unleashed: Really only one? Uggh. Alright. I have to go with the general premise of having these fantasy characters in real life is hilarious. I have no Idea what the air of Earth does to these people, but turning 3 murderous demon Lords into a perfect, hardworking McRonald's employee, a housewife and a NEET is just too funny all around.
jonuiuc: My favorite moment I think was when Emi and Alciel are outside spying on Sadao and Chiho's date. Emi's appraisal of Chiho's wardrobe and Alciel's reaction is hilarious.
Tami-onee-chan: I started rewatching this before writing, and while I haven't finished, the best scene yet is when Lucifer attacks "at full strength," and Emi simply blocks it, sending it straight into Maou's face behind her. Runner-up is when Emi was staking out the apartment and tries to run away, only to slip and fall down the stairs, right into Maou's arms. In return for saving her, her gratitude is to punch and knee him in the face. Chi-chan's cute, but her scenes of embarrassment don't compare to Emi's.
MaelwysSC113(Mael): Oh yes! That was a great scene. (So, when I signed up for this I thought I'd have a bit more time to, you know, watch the show. I didn't know I was the only one who hadn't seen it yet. That being considered, I watched it as we did this review) So far, my favorite part has been Chiho freaking out when Sadao brings the bento for lunch...and then later calls Emi. "Double-decker bento from a girl! Double-decker girl!" to which Emi replies, most aptly,
Mael: So basically, a bunch of demons and humans who were fighting in their own world end up coming to Earth. The thing is, their magic doesn't replenish on Earth like it did in Enta Isle(their world), so mostly they just end up either becoming each others' stalkers or frenemies.
Occasionally, we get a flashback or a quick view of Esla Isle for a bit, but these are mostly serious sections. As a comedy, most of the show doesn't really carry much weight plot-wise, but it's hilarious to watch, especially if you know some general tropes from anime and games. (My first thought on the show was in the beginning when the Hero is fighting Satan and it briefly shows the other humans in the Hero's party- "That's a pretty balanced FF team right there, Black Wizard, White Wizard, Knight, and Monk-ish guy")
devinreal13: Yeah i did not really watch this show for a plot, I watched to be entertained by comedic antics. There was a story, but it was not one I cared for.
Ascendant: I do agree with devin that the anime is primarily a comedy, but we don't need to treat everything like it belongs to a stereotype. I personally found the plot to be fairly entertaining, and quite cohesive, since it explains the magic(sort of), and also how the characters are affected by the lack of magic in 'our' world.I also found the fact that it tries to tell the cautionary tale of not giving in to seeing the world in black and white, albeit not too seriously. It's becoming quite a common theme now, the fact that evil may not be truly 'evil', and neither would good be entirely 'good'. It doesn't focus too seriously on it, but it still remains an ever existing undercurrent to the anime, with the slap in the face of how the 'Devil' becomes a good guy, while the 'Priests' become corrupt.
Mael: I think the small bit of plot helped bring the comedy together and opened doors for specific jokes, but the quick shifts from comedy to seriousness were a bit rough sometimes in my opinion. The situational irony of Satan coming to the world and being an upstanding citizen with a genuine care for people is well done.
Tami: The series is about a former business owner and his partner, Maou and Ashiya, as they try to rebuild their company from the ground-up after a rival company, employing Emi, stole their clients. The two lost everything they built and fell below poverty, and stricken with guilt, Emi tries to watch over them and make sure they aren't too poor-off… at least, that's what Ashiya told me.
After thinking about it, to me, the story almost feels like a (comedic) Romeo and Juliet, and Juliet's half-sister-cousin, only without any tragedy. Juliet (played by Chi-chan) falls for Romeo (played by Sadou), her older co-worker. Unbeknownst to her, Sadou is master of demons and the enslaver of humans. Their histories are full of generations of conflict that tells them they should never be together, but she falls for him anyway. Romeo knows and tries to discreetly dissuade her from loving him, knowing it would hurt her to do so. Meanwhile, Juliet's half-sister-cousin (played by Emi) knows the history of the Montague's history and wants to stop them in the two family's never-ending feud.
jonuiuc: A lot of the interesting story bits are all in the setup and background of the series, most of the fun is just the character interactions and "fish out of water" situations within the premise. If you yearn for more of the other world politics in a similar sort of demons kings and heroes story, you may want to try Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, which is also excellent and focused more on the story elements, not so much the comedy.
Ascendant: (Going slightly off-topic) Maoyuu is very much focused on the non-fighting side of war, more about the political intrigue and the economic situations, and is also set in a medieval world, where there's magic. I did enjoy both, but I wouldn't say they're similar. Maoyuu is more akin to Ookami to Koushinryou for me.
Krakken: The set-up and story I found to be a fun and entertaining setup. In fact, I wouldn't mind having a whole series in Enta Isla. But also the human world is great, and the show's premise was executed so smoothly, it took me a while before I actually stepped back, thought about it and realised how absurd it all was.
(on the off topic stuff) This show is more directly parallel to I Couldn't Become a Hero so I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job. though I find that show to be more generic than Devil is a part timer. I'd also compare it to a less action heavy Blue Exorcist.
Tami: It did feel a bit like Yu-Shibu, but it also felt like they tried to downplay the supernatural side of the characters while making it feel more like a slice-of(-paranormal)-life.
devinreal13: So let's talk about the characters. I thought the main characters in this show were just so much fun to watch. For the demons you have the hard working fast food Employee Sadou/Satan, the house wife Ashiya, and the NEET Urushihara/Lucifer. The humans on the show were just as great, with the hero who works tech support Emilia; the cute, love struck, and impossibly huge breasted co-worker of Sadou, Chi; and extremely out of touch with modern times Suzono. I loved seeing all the interactions between all these characters. To me it was entertaining to see everyone give Urushihara/Lucifer a hard time, who I found I could relate to. Which is ironic considering I'm Catholic, and I never thought I would say "Lucifer is a likable character who I feel sorry for."
So what stood out to you about the characters?
Mael: Lucifer was definitely a standout character to me, with his impulse buying NEET lifestyle, he was a good foil for Alsiel and Sadao who both worked hard on the homefront and MgRonald's, respectively. He didn't have a lot of screen time, but he had the highest success rate of making me laugh and the fact that he just sits at the computer and tells Alsiel to stop complaining and moaning. Sort of the same anti-social tendencies as Hikki from SNAFU.
jonuiuc: I feel Emi's character with was the most fleshed out, in regards to her backstory and motivations. But I'm a bit disappointed they never went to that degree with Sadao and the rest of the Devils. When she asked Sadao why he warred with humanity in the past, he sort of just says, "I never saw them as people" and thats it. Lots of opportunity for getting more into that, especially when the "not-so-good" humans from their world start showing up later in the show. At the least they could have gotten into if the demons had changed in the new world, or if they were always like that and the humans of the other world just never saw them as "people" either.
devinreal13: Yeah I found that to be the most interesting thing about Emi's character. She isn't sure what to think of Maou, who has become a hard working fast food employee in this world, but she still remembers her hardships caused by Maou's kingdom back in Ente Isla. Personally I think that sucks for Emi, finding out her "enemy" is nicer in this world but caused a whole bunch of grief in their homeworld.
Krakken: The Demons I found to not really show off their evil side, except for maybe Lucifer. However I kind of always took that as part of the joke. I find it almost harder to think of Sadou as a demon King, just because he's so earnest. I frankly enjoyed the characters so much, and laughed at all their comedic quirks that I largely just ignored the plot inconsistencies. Though I did think that the rest of Emi's team was largely unnecessary, and was puzzled at their inclusion. Oh and Angel face face was perfectly despicable… a great love to hate villain.
Ascendant: I totally agree with what jonuiuc has said. Sadao has a very high potential to become a truly 3 dimensional character, provided with proper development, which has already been demonstrated with Emi.
Character interactions are also excellent. The dynamics between Sadao and Alciel/Emi respectively feel very different, each working to bring out a different side of Sadao's personality. Emi however doesn't seem to take a big enough slap to the face. I mean really. She should be ten times as shocked as she is, upon finding out that Sadao is a 'good' guy. She should also have had a mental breakdown by now, between my above point and the fact that her 'church' has abandoned her, though I guess I shouldn't expect too much out of a comedy.
One more big quibble I have however, is that they accept Lucifer in so readily. We could have done with a torture scene.
Tami: The series had a chance to do something with Mikity, alluding that there's more to her than they know, yet they barely gave her three minutes of screentime in the entire show.
The opening and finale both show Chi-chan using a bow and arrow and being good, but they never did anything with her background to even explain showing it. I don't know if they had somewhere in mind they were taking her, and then decided to scrap it and make her a damsel.
Tami - Hmm… for design, the opening and (second) ending are quite colourful and I like the abstract style they used in the opening especially. I remember when the show aired, how much I wanted the scenes of Emi and Maou getting up and their clocks going flying on my desktop. The way Ashiya's animation times with the melody as he goes through comedic antics and poses before dramatically unfurling Maou's shorts out the window to dry… Probably the only part that ever felt off was when Chi-chan's hits the target, there was a pause before the melody hit a strong note.
Krakken: The Art in general I thought was beautiful, plenty of distinct colours and gradients. It was just lovely to look at. Especially those eyes, I think it was Emi's I noticed most, and once I got over the initial shock of their design, I loved them. I will also shoutout Emi's Hero Helmet for having her natural ponytail as the decorative plumage (or whatever that's called). Though I never did understand why she went from Silver hair to Redhead.
jonuiuc: I'd have to say the art designs are fairly average for modern anime. Certainly not bad, just competent and mainstream I guess. I do like the "over muscled" devil versions of the characters, but I have more of old school aesthetic deep down. This series is not afraid to mish mash though, it has brawny action-type forms, the more run-of-the mill slice of life look, and even the Ghibli-ish (deformed) look to the landlady. Colors pallets are good, distinct for each setting, even the destruction scenes in the modern day look good.
devinreal13: I only have one word to say about this. Faces.
Tami: Faces, you say?
Ascendant: I find no faults with the designs in general, but they are simple. They purposely bought Unislo stuff for Sadao because it's plain(LOL). Hair, expressions, and even the eyes are simple. I do note this is a comedy anime, but those are some standards I've set for anime, and this just doesn't quite reach that mark.
Tami: Hey now, don't mock the Unislo brand.
Ascendant: *mocking intensifies*
Krakken: The animation huh… I'm no great art/animation critic, though I will say that I found the animation quality of TDIAPT to be consistent, elegant if simple. This wasn't a super flashy or fast paced anime, but the animation I don't think ever faltered. The battle scenes were probably the most intensive, but even if most of the magic was glowing laser lines and circular explosions, I always felt it worked, and delivered everything it needed to with grace.
jonuiuc: The animation is the same as the design for me, competent and up to modern standards. It gets better when it needs to and they have the budget for it, but of course there are sections in which there is some cost saving, just like most anime series.
Ascendant: I agree, the animation was nothing flashy, but it was consistent. The fight scenes would be explained with a single word, though. Again, it's 'simple'. That's the word. But of course, this is a comedy, so the light amount of focus on animating is excusable. I don't know much about the budget, but it couldn't have been too big, since like I said, the fight scenes were so simple. The figures while fighting have an action figure style, (refer to the topmost GIF) like when Lucifer did that really simple flick of the wrist. That was really really simple.
Tami: Unlike some of the recent series to come out, this Hataraku never felt like they took any cuts on the quality of their art or animation, even if the battles were often short. But when you have someone who's supposed to be the top demon fighting anyone beneath them, how long can you expect the battle to last? It was kind of a cop-out to have Maou sitting on the side of the battle with Lucifer and Olba for so long, though. If anything, I feel that would be something more to do with the pacing of the story.
Tami - The music isn't much of a standout during most of the episodes. Either they were trying to let the actors and sound effects drive it, or I've become desensitized to background music, but the opening (Zero by Minami Kuribayashi) and ending (Tsuki Hana by Nana.RIPE) really stand out, particularly the finale (Star Chart, also by Nana.RIPE) which is more upbeat than the other two.
Meanwhile, Maou's VA, Ryōta Ōsaka, does a terrific job of conveying milord's emotions. From being badgered by Alci-Ashiya to Emi's attempts at putting up a front in the face of Maou's obliviousness. ALL of the VAs did a great job with the Ente Isle language. For a while, it felt like Eme's VA might be having issues, since it's not uncommon for english to sound stuttered, but I think that's actually intended to be part of her character.
Mael: I didn't really notice much about the music because like you said, it wasn't much of a standout. Really, I think the show is more geared toward comedy based in actions and words, so a soundtrack that has distinctive music to indicate when a situation is about to or has gotten weird/awkward/funny isn't needed.
Krakken: The OP was nothing special to begin with, though it grew on me with time and now I enjoy it greatly, even if its not a masterpiece. I remember the Fantasy Epic pieces to be nicely fitting and great for the few awesome battle scenes. The soundtrack was a nice compliment, definitely and I had no issues with it.
devinreal13: I agree with Krakken on the OP. I felt the soundtrack did a good enough job at setting moods, but was not memorable. If anything I liked the lack of sound, meaning I thought they used that trope of playing dramatic music then suddenly cutting to silence when something kills the mood, really well. If there's one thing I loved about the sound, its the ED; all of them as they are all done by Nano Ripe. I especially love the second one.
Krakken: And I Nearly Forgot, I watched this originally in the english dub, which frankly is great. Especially Chiho who is cute but not annoying or weird sounding. (I will give a nod to Arkada at Glass reflection for paying attention to her)
devinreal13: Yeah Tia Ballard really has one of the best voices for characters among English VAs. Though not just her, I thought the entire English cast did a great job. I'd say almost on par with japanese, save for a few scenes which just sounded more funny in Japanese.
jonuiuc: I can't say I remember the music or the OP/ED very well, but it has been a year or so since I've seen it last. I won't say it was bad, but usually if there is great music, I'd remember.
Ascendant: The OP and ED were meh for me, and the soundtrack was rarely amazing. I did enjoy Osaka Ryota and of course, the ever amazing Yoko Hikasa as Sadao and Emi, but I do feel they were never used to their limit. They could've been so much better honestly.
Tami: I give it a super sized Black Pepper Fries/10. I will definitely eat here again.
Try the triple-layer Lovers' Quarrel shake while you're there.
Mael: Black Pepper Fries aside, I'll give it a khatsu-dum/10 for Miki-T. And Lucifer in a cardboard box being hazed.
devinreal13: I prefer burgers. I'll give it a big mig/10 since burgers are boneless, which makes it easier to digest. I just wish I had more.
Mael: Burgers are boneless, indeed, but did you know that Sentucky Fried Chicken isn't putting all of their employees on the role?...sounds like tax fraud to me....
Tami: Well, when one of their managers is a womanizer who commits inappropriate touching, I wouldn't want their name on my staff, either.
jonuiuc: This is where the series really shines. I'd give it an 8/10 special herbs and spices from the Sentucky Colonal's special recipe..
Ascendant: I give it a …… gah. I hate you guys and your puns. You've used up all the foodstuffs! I guess I'll give it a cucumber-and-honey delight/10, because that's cooking for ya.
devinreal13: You know, if you mix cucumber and honey it almost tastes like a melon.
Mael: ...you know, "Cucumbers are the only source of energy for human bodies. I refuse to eat this again for the fifth week in a row!"
Krakken: My rating:
Krakken: But seriously I give the New Devils Castle an Excellent Functionality/10, "And If you're craving a melon enough to mix cucumbers and honey together, you're better off just buying a melon! Seriously!"
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This article is part of a collaborative series by Ascendant! Look forward to other titles soon! (Shameless self-promotion :P)